Photo by Thomas E. Franklin, The Bergen Record, Passaic, NJ
*Johnstown Tribune-Democrat September 8, 2006
Copyright © 2007 by Ralph Couey
Written content only, except for song lyrics
“Have you forgotten
How it felt that day
To see your homeland under fire
And her people blown away?
“Have you forgotten
When those towers fell
We had neighbors still inside
Goin’ through a living hell?”
– DARRYL WORLEY
Sept. 11, 2001.
No one needs to explain the date or how our lives were changed on that late-summer morning. On this, the fifth anniversary of the most devastating attacks on American soil, a tragedy seared into our minds by the clarity and immediacy of television, the memories should still burn bright. There were comparisons to another day of infamy, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941. But beyond the most obvious parallel, the two events have very little in common.
The immediate aftermath of both attacks left a shocked and angry nation eager for retaliation. In the case of World War II, that passion sustained Americans through 41/2 years of combat. Despite the early setbacks and the mounting casualties, Americans remained resolute, unwilling to accept any result short of victory. As evidence, I cite the public and political outcry that resulted in 1945 when President Harry Truman indicated in one of his communiqués to Japan that the Allies would not insist on deposing the emperor, long the symbol of the Asian nation’s aggression, as a condition of Japan’s surrender. Through their protestations, the American people made it clear that not only did they want Japan defeated, but they wanted its military-run government dismantled. This stalwart stance was rewarded. The emperor, seeing no hope of a negotiated settlement in the united will of the American people and the Allies, ordered the Japanese Imperial Government to accept the Allies’ terms.
But 60 years later, the change is starkly dramatic.